Welcome to the CAARC web site. I have been a Ham since 1978 and I am active on most modes from HF to UHF Satellite communications.

Posts by VE6BLD

New Brochure for the Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club

I have produced a new Brochure for the Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club.

To download a color printable PDF document of the Club Advertising brochure complete with hot links back

to the web site  click this link

or check the second Tab under Site Tools menu.

Bob VE6BLD. Webmaster


An amateur photographer has completed an incredible feat of capturing the space shuttle approaching the International Space Station

Amateur photographer captures space shuttle from back garden

Thank you to Earl 4Z4TJ for the link !! Incredible!

An amateur photographer has completed an incredible feat of capturing the space shuttle approaching the International Space Station – from his back garden in the Forest of Dean.

Astronomy enthusiast Rob Bullen used a mid-range digital camera and a 20 year old telescope to take the photo of the shuttle and the ISS Photo: ROB BULLEN/NATIONAL PICTURES
8:46AM GMT 02 Mar 2011

Using just a mid-range digital camera and a 20 year old telescope astronomy enthusiast Rob Bullen, 40, was amazed to get the shot.

He said: “I have never been able to capture a space shuttle in this flying configuration. It is the Holy grail of International Space Station imaging.”

Mr Bullen, who has had a passion for the skies since the age of 10, said: “Some years ago I thought it would

be interesting to try and view the space station through my telescope and was shocked by the amount of detail you could see on it.”

The realisation inspired him to pick up his Canon Eos 40D DSLR and 8.5 inch Newton telescope as the station passed over the UK and the shuttle was in orbit last Saturday.

The IT manager rigged his 10 megapixel camera up to the telescope and had just three minutes to capture the event which raced across the sky at a similar pace to a jet plane.

He tracked the two craft across the skies but it was only when the cloud parted at the right time that he captured this rare gem.

He said: “I had no idea that night the shuttle would only be 45 minutes away from docking with the station. After a very cloudy day the skies cleared to allow a view of this stunning pass of the ISS and Discovery.

“I could not believe the timing was so fortuitous to show the shuttle closing in on the station. I captured this, what I guess could potentially be, a once in a lifetime image of these two spaceships traveling as separate craft.

Mr Bullen said: “Needless to say I was totally shocked and delighted to see the shuttle closing in on the ISS.

“Although over the years I have obtained clearer images of the station on its own to capture such a iconic image of mankind’s only permanently manned outpost in space and the most sophisticated flying machine ever built on its last flight before ending its days bound to Earth in a museum was a real privilege and something I will treasure.

“I am unlikely to capture such an image again with only two Shuttle flights left before they are decommissioned.”

Fun with WSPR

Fun with WSPR

I have sent out some emails reporting my success and the success of other hams in making DX contacts using unbelievably low transmit power levels.  There was some interest in this so I thought I would briefly provide some background to jump start you.

What is it?

The Weak Signal Propagation Reporter Network is a group of amateur radio operators using K1JT’s MEPT_JT digital mode to probe radio frequency propagation conditions using very low power (QRP/QRPp) transmissions. The software is open source, and the data collected are available to the public through this site. Go to the website, click on the map tab, select a band (below the map) and take a look at the action.  Clicking on any call sign will show you who is receiving that station and who he is receiving.

Where do I get it?

Program and documentation downloads are available here

If you have not done this before, read the documentation.  J

When can I start having fun?

First of all, my experience has been that the set-up is really easy and, if you are already working digital modes you can start WSPRing (pronounced whispering) in just a few minutes.

A few tips:

  • Use a rig with a TCXO, good stability and calibration (i.e. check against WWV)
  • Use a rig with CAT control (sorry, that old FT-101 will just give you grief here …)
  • A simple antenna is all that is necessary, of course if you have a big, high antenna results will be  better
  • Install an internet time program in your computer (as per documentation); or go into the Windows time and date and make the clock update once every 15 minutes, or use GPS timing (overkill, but what the heck)
  • If you have a multiband antenna (e.g. an all band vertical, 10-15-20m beam, etc.) you can have more fun.
  • Loop antennas, including magnetic loop antennas that don’t take up much space, work well.  No excuse not to try this mode if you live in an apartment!
  • Please don’t use more than 5 W out.  In this mode QRP starts at 500 mW.
  • I have two screens on my station computer, one showing the WSPR software and the other the map on

What should I try WSPR?

This mode has given me a much better appreciation of how propagation works.  I found it interesting to watch the signals on a given band change as the gray line approached and then passed overhead.  I learned that a wire antenna and <1 watt can radiate a signal simultaneously heard (from the middle east) both in New Zealand and North America.  I also found out that you can reduce power to ridiculously low levels — I am currently running on 125 mW on 20m and 250 mW on 40 m with good results.   I have “spotted” (i.e. decoded signals from) hams in Europe using 10, 5 and even 1 mW.  The current challenge is to see how far your signals get on 500 micro watts !  (0.5 mW you will need calibrated attenuators in your antenna line to do this).

The ability of the software to dig a narrow band signal out of 30 dB of noise is impressive.  We are lucky to have a Nobel Prize winning physicist (K1JT) writing software for ham radio.

“…to explore strange, new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no ham has gone before.”


ARISSat1 Will not deploy until July 2011

I have been anxiously waiting for the next  launch of ARISSat1 formerly know as SUIT Sat . After working every orbit of the first SUIT Sat in February of 2006 I now have to wait a little longer! The most exciting time of my life as an amateur radio operator was receiving all the transmissions from the badly disabled Suit Sat and decoding the secret words and SSTV picture from the spinning satellite. Hopefully when this new satelite is launched in July 2011 everyone will get the opportunity to receive the weak signals from it.

Please click this link to read and hear the many reports I received along with a few others of the first SUIT Sat

More information and an overview of the new satellite at this link.

For the latest information and news please see the link below.


Australia Floods Queensland Before & After

Thanks VE6MIM and Bart
Australia Floods Queensland Before & After
Slide your mouse horizontally along each photo to see the photo the day before flooding and the same location during the flood the next day

Sad Announcement

It is with sadness I report (VA6IX) Jack’s  wife Shirley passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.  The funeral service will be held Saturday, January 15 at 1:30PM at the Church of the Latter Day Saints in Olds.  The church is located at  3802 57 Ave., across the street from the Hospital.  Viewing will be from 12:00 to 1:00PM. Our condolences to Jack and his family.  Shirley will certainly be missed.

CAARC Members Now Able to Post News Items

Paid up CAARC Members are now able to Post Items of interest on this new web site.  Please log in and follow the instructions below.

If you have problems please contact VE6BLD.

Click on “Dashboard” under Logged in:    (HINT)   Click the “Help” button on the top right corner of this

dashboard page for instructions using the “Dashboard”.

Under Posts click” Add New”

Then Add a “Title” and enter your post as you would with a word processor.

On the right side you can “Preview” and or “Publish” when you are ready.

Click the sample post below to see full size..  I will be presenting a training session at an upcoming general meeting.

73 Bob VE6BLD

Welcome to the new and improved web site of the Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club.

Welcome to the new and improved web site of the Central Alberta Amateur Radio Club.

This site will continue to be improved as the webmaster adds more items. Enjoy and have fun!

Registration Instructions

Welcome guest

Please enjoy this amateur radio site. You are welcome to sign up and register with your Amateur Radio Call sign.

If you have previously registered on the old web page then you are already an existing user. Please click on “Lost your password?” under the registration window in the left column and you will then be e-mailed a new temporary password. Log in to this site with the temporary password, then in the left column, click on “Dashboard”, then “Users”, then “Your profile”. Then fill in your new desired password at the bottom of the page. Remember to click “Update Profile” in the bottom left corner. From that point on you will be able to log in with your new password.


If you are a new user, click on” Register” and a new page will open.

You must enter your Amateur Radio Call Sign in the field “Username“.

Then fill in all the other fields.  In order to proceed, all fields are required to be filled in.

Your registration will need to be approved before you will be able to login. Your registration approval will be emailed to you.

Once you are logged in, you will then be able to post news, forums, links, and your own gallery items!

Welcome, and enjoy this new web page.

Public service communications?

Are you serious about providing public service communications?

Then the CEC (Certified Emergency Co-ordinator) designation should be considered for any and every Canadian Radio Amateur. This is an open book exam provided by Radio Amateurs of Canada. You simply refer to the listed training materials (downloadable from RAC) while taking the exam.Then submit the exam to RAC to obtain your certificate if you pass. Click this link to go the RAC page for instructions and information.